Millwood could be back in lineup by end of month

Blast Notebook

Pro Soccer

December 16, 2005|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

Machel Millwood is not enjoying another round of injury rehabilitation, but at least the timing and nature of the ailment suit the Blast and its second-year forward.

Millwood has been out since suffering knee and ankle injuries in a 12-5 victory over St. Louis on Nov. 19. After having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee Dec. 8, he could return for the Dec. 30 game against the visiting Philadelphia KiXX.

"There's going to be a pain factor for the rest of the season. It's indoor and it's constant throbbing [in the knee]," said Millwood, who hopes to begin running next week. "Pain, I can always endure. I'm just worried about recovering in due time to [play in] as many games [as possible] during the season."

The schedule is working in Millwood's favor. After the Blast (3-2) concludes a two-game road swing to St. Louis tonight and California on Sunday, the team will be off until Dec. 30.

Then, after playing back-to-back games against league-leading Milwaukee on Jan. 6 and 7, the Blast takes another two-week break before resuming against visiting Chicago on Jan. 21.

Millwood, who recorded at least one point in 12 of the 17 games in which he played last year, before a torn abdominal muscle ended his season on Feb. 12, had an outstanding preseason and had scored one goal before going down last month.

A former Towson University star, Millwood and his slashing, one-on-one skills might have come in handy in last week's 7-5 loss to Milwaukee.

"Everyone has a role and a different way of helping the team out," Millwood said. "I think my quickness could have helped, just by giving [the Wave] a different look. It's always better to be running around on the field and having a bad game than being injured."

Penalty specialist

Blast forward Lee Tschantret will play in his 500th Major Indoor Soccer League game against expansion California on Sunday, and he needs 24 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

Tschantret also maintains another distinction. He came into the season as the league's leader in penalty minutes (715), and one of the team's most emotional leaders upheld that notoriety at an inopportune time against the Wave.

Late in the fourth quarter, with his team trailing 6-5, Tschantret got into an altercation with a Milwaukee player.

Both players served five-minute penalties for misconduct. During that period, the Blast's bench was cited for another foul, leaving the team in a man-down situation that helped the Wave clinch the victory.

"I know what makes Lee tick, and I'm not going to stop him completely, but he's got to be smarter," Blast coach Tim Wittman said. "He's a good player. He plays up top and he's on the penalty kill team. He's putting the team in jeopardy when he does that. I don't need him in the [penalty] box; I need him on the field."

Rare shutout

Blast forward Adauto Neto had scored in 11 straight games dating to last season. But the man who led the MISL in scoring until last week lived through his first shutout of the year against the Wave.

Neto, who leads the Blast with 13 points, missed several shots within 10 yards. He fought constant double-teaming.

"I think everyone is aware of how I play," said Neto, whom the Blast selected in the first round of the September draft from the now-defunct Cleveland Force. "I knew there's not going to be a lot of spaces for me. A lot of double-teaming, a lot of man-to-man marking. I'm going to have to move the ball better. You're not going to be able to score in every game, but you can't put your head down."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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